Can a 16-Year-Old Get Auto Insurance Without Being on a Parent’s Policy?

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

If you're a young driver who needs car insurance quickly, you're probably wondering whether you're eligible to procure such coverage on your own. After all, insurance companies provide coverage to virtually anyone who has a valid driver's license. Although you're probably aware that your coverage will be fairly expensive given your age and lack of driving history, you might suspect that you'll be able to secure an individual policy with relatively little trouble.

Unfortunately, there may be several hurdles standing between you and your dream of individual auto insurance coverage. Until you turn 18 and assume the legal responsibilities of an adult, you're deemed to be a minor in the care of your parents. Without their permission, you may have trouble finding a car insurance policy using your own name. Although you can own your own vehicle, American law prohibits you from insuring it without prior parental consent. Functionally, this means that you'll be legally unable to operate your own motor vehicle without your parents' permission.

You can avoid this dilemma in several different ways. First, you can seek emancipation from your parents. This is a complicated legal process that will require you to retain a lawyer and may take several months to complete. In most cases, your emancipation request will be denied in the absence of clear proof that your parents represent a serious negative influence on your life. If you've been physically abused or prevented from attending school, your emancipation request may be approved. Otherwise, you may be out of luck.

However, you may be able to circumvent the law by enlisting the help of an adult relative or friend. To do this, you'll need to convince this person to assume ownership of the vehicle that you wish to drive. You can transfer the title to this person without actually exchanging money.

Once the car is legally in his or her possession, he or she can take out an auto insurance policy on it. This policy will need to include you as an eligible driver. Since it will cost your adult friend a hefty sum to include an inexperienced 16-year-old driver on his or her policy, this arrangement will almost certainly require you to pay a large monthly premium. Depending upon the financial conditions associated with this deal, it may or may not be worthwhile. In order to make this arrangement plausible, you may need to move in with your adult benefactor.

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